Christmas markets in the Czech Republic – whether in Prague, Český Krumlov, Olomouc or anywhere else – have many things in common. Festively decorated stalls, special atmosphere, carols and food, to name just a few. We have chosen some traditional sweet-smelling goodies that can be found at every Christmas market and are widely enjoyed by everyone.
Mulled WineWell, this one is a real classic. Mulled wine with cinnamon, clove, star aniseed and orange or lemon peel will evoke an atmosphere of a Christmas market in anyone. The aroma of mulled wine will be wafting from the most famous Christmas markets on Prague's Old Town Square and for certain in Český Krumlov in South Bohemia. Warm your hands on a hot cup of mulled wine, but watch out that you don’t overdo the second helpings.
TrdelníkThis sweet delicacy is available all year round, but at Christmas it tastes that bit better. The crispy rolled pastry topped with sugar, cinnamon and crushed almonds or other nuts is sold warm at Christmas markets. All vendors brag that they sell the genuine Old Czech speciality, but cynics criticize them saying trdelník is connected with Austro-Hungarian traditions and what’s more, Hungarians have also laid claim to this tasty cake. But who really cares - it is too delicious to bother about such silly things.
MeadThis sweet alcoholic drink is probably a little less popular than mulled wine, but is still clearly associated with Christmas markets. It is made of water and honey so it is more of a liquid dessert. Christmas markets usually offer several types, for instance mead flavoured with vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, or mead with fruit juice.
HamHam is another delicacy you can enjoy all year round. However, when you actually watch it being sliced straight from the spit, your taste buds will dance with joy, and how about when it starts melting in your mouth! Besides, you can soak up the pleasant warmth coming from the fire, which on frosty days is especially appealing. There is unfortunately one slight problem – ham is probably not the healthiest of food to consume, but if there is one time when it really doesn’t matter, it is surely the Christmas season. In addition, Prague ham is a renowned name in the world of gastronomy. In the 19th century it was prepared for the first time by a Prague butcher, whose technique was to lightly smoke a joint of ham and then boil it. So, unsurprisingly this delicacy can usually be found at Prague Christmas markets.
PunchAccording to the original recipe, punch used to be prepared from five ingredients: water, alcohol, sugar, lemon and spices. Some time later, another component - fruit juice was added. If you fancy tasting an Olomouc version of this delicacy, set out for the Olomouc Christmas markets, where you can buy traditional punch that has been made the same way for decades with the actual technique being known only by a few people. In Olomouc you can sip it warm at the Christmas market or take a bottle home to enjoy later.
Obviously, there is much more for you to buy and taste at the Christmas markets. How about tantalising your palate with roast chestnuts, roast almonds or traditional gingerbread? Forgetting your stomach for a moment, these markets are also a good place to buy other things, such as tree decorations or Christmas gifts. On the other hand you will not be able to get absolutely everything here, because stalls are only allowed to sell traditional Christmas goods.